Masks Off in School

Elaine Clarke, Writer

Masks are off in schools, but is it for good? With covid cases on the rise and online school a no-go for most, what does our future look like in schools?

The mask mandate was dropped in New York, and so far the rise in cases has been slow. Even earlier this month, a CDC mandate for wearing masks in public transportation conveniences and hubs was brought to court and appealed. Still, the CDC recommends masking up especially with the BA.2 omicron subvarient. 

What does this mean for schools? New York as a whole is seeing cases on a slow rise, especially in schools in the city. There have only been 10 reported cases in teachers, staff, and students according to the New York State School Covid-19 report card as of the 20th of April. District wide, there are a total of 35. 

The lack of masks has not changed much for the students and teachers. One student, Kacie Burns, says it’s “fine, I guess.” Another, Quinn Muller, thinks that as long as people are being safe and kind, going maskless isn’t a problem. Nationwide, online schooling was a struggle for some students, both academically and mentaly. Getting rid of the mask mandate in schools only increases the risk of going back online, something many students, teachers, and parents do not want again. 

Wearing masks in schools is proven to significantly lower the transmission of Covid-19 and all its variants. Getting rid of that only puts people at risk. But on the other hand, teaching and learning in a mask-environment presents its own difficulties.

One of our own teachers, Asher Zink feels it’s “harder for students to be themselves” and that being maskless gives a much more “real and vibrant environment” for students and teachers alike. Wearing masks is definitely a good thing that allows for a safer environment for vulnerable people, but going maskless is a good return to normalcy.

All in all, masks are a controversial topic. Whether they will be reinstated in schools can only be seen.